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Before you even think of the character, you need to grasp what is going on in the game, says illustrator Shyam Deshpande. The story gives way to an ecosystem that automatically translates into details for your character. He shares few of his guiding principles.

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Interrogation Before Imagination.

Even before conceiving a character, think why you even need to paint it. There are few questions one needs to answer to get the character right. Like, what are you trying to portray? What is the reason for his/her existence in the game? What is the story he/she dwells in. These form the base of the artwork. Take time to answer these questions. And rest assured, you are going to get a fitting character.


The Story is The Key.

The first job is to think about the plot of the game. Say, if it’s located on some alien planet, you need to think how the character will exist. Is it a safe happy place or full of unknown creatures? One needs to think about the persona of the character and accessories basis that. For instance, should he/she carry some essential weapons if it’s a scary place? Moreover, how these weapons should complement the character.


Like, a cave man shouldn’t be using a gun so you need to give him something which is primitive. Even the costume will have hints of a similar, natural material which is easily available on that planet. In other words, if you have a grab on the story, it will help your imagination to come up with the details.

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“Artists always try to find familiar shapes in everyday things like clouds or other elements of nature. The same happens when they try to conceive a character”

In Character, Abstraction And Realism Merge.

Of course, abstraction and realism are two different things. But at times, especially in cases of character design, the thin line between the two dissolve. Artists always try to find familiar shapes in everyday things like clouds or other elements of nature. The same happens when they try to conceive a character. While painting one, they define the silhouette based on a relatable figure. Depending on the demand of the concept, the look of the character tilts towards abstraction or realism. But ultimately, there is a hint of both in every character.

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Character Concept

Exaggeration is a Choice.

There are lots of factors in a figure that makes it appealing for the eye and interesting for the mind. Artists generally look for volume, rhythm, body language, expression and interaction between the forms in characters. While creating for a game, one needs to decide which forms or elements one needs to emphasise on.


Directed by the concept, it can be either one of the aspects of the character or one of the supporting elements. Then comes the expression and the physical stance. Say, a character supposed to be king exudes lack of confidence in his body language. This can be totally confusing for the artwork. At the end of the day, you need to choose the elements to exaggerate and give the character a completion.

Character Concept

Published in Issue 15

Gaming Art Special! In this issue, we invited leading Gaming professionals to share their inspirations along with their suggestions to improve the Gaming Art in India. Featuring some of the big names of Gaming Art like Vinay Vikram Singh, Sandeep Menon and Neeraj Menon along with International renowned Russian studio, ‘Grafit Studio‘ and many more talented creatives.


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Mistakes are not really as evil as it sounds, on the contrary in most cases it helps you to evolve as a better person. We can learn a lot from our own mistakes. Also, for any artist, it can be a great exercise to revisit the old artwork just to see how much you have improved. To do the same, concept artist Shyam Deshpande re-illustrate his old illustration with new learnings. Here, he shares his process and all the learnings from his mistakes.


Step 1.

This is one of old work painted back in 2013 and I was pretty happy about it then, but after some time, it doesn’t look as great as I thought it initially. Actually, I feel the same for most of my artworks which I believe is a good thing in a way as it portrays your continuous evolvement as an artist.


Step 2.

Since I wasn’t too happy with this 3 years old artwork, I started working on it again. The basic idea was to show a fearless lady who’s a Mercenary goes with a ‘cute’ but fearless pet. So, in this revisiting exercise, I decided to design a tribal character, inspired from the Nigerian tribes reference which I found while looking for references for Hyena. I used few different elements from references with incorporate some of my own ideas.


Step 3.

After finalising on the characters and design elements I tried to work on the final lines. I believe, it’s good to fix most of the issues in the drawing stage.


Step 4.

Even if you add lots of details in the drawing and great rendering with a nice colour scheme in the first silhouette, it will still be a waste of time. As there will be no attitude in it, it will be boring and stiff. But on the other hand the second silhouette, clearly shows a particular attitude, the confidence in the stance comes due to the distance between the legs, the dynamic line of action which adds to the drama. So it’s always good to check the silhouette and correct it before going for the detailing.


Step 5.

Before adding colours, worked in grayscale as it’s very important to get the values and tones right. Skipping this may confuse you in hue & saturation and you may also miss the correct values. Also, it’s easier to paint once you have the values place in advance. You just need to add one more layer on top of the grayscale in colour blending mode and start painting.


Step 6.

The final Image after all the colours with raw brush feel as I wanted to highlight her raw nature & the aggressive attitude.

Published in Issue 35

The season of the festival has started and everyone is preparing to have a unique one this time with less cash and more fun. We interview many creatives who creates promotional or calendar design each year. As most of the thing around us had shifted to digital, even calendar design and the promotion has shifted. But Yorick Pintos, a strategic consultant at studio Kohl suggests that best option would be to a mix of both, the traditional and digital media. Digital Illustrator Nithin Rao Kumblekar also shared his love for the printed calendars and emphasis on the effectiveness of it. If you are interested in print design & want to understand the future of the same. So, go ahead and order your latest issue copy!


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